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Postgraduate Research

We offer 2 programmes within the department, a 3-year and 4-year programme. Our programmes are funded from many sources including the Research Councils (EPSRC, BBRSC, NERC and MRC), Charities, the European Community, US Government sources and industry in the UK, Europe and the USA.

PhD Chemistry (3-year)

PhD Chemistry

The 3-year Chemistry PhD programme is focused on a major piece of original research. You will study under the direct supervision of a member of staff, who is an expert in his or her area of specialisation. The department offers a broad range of research themes across physical, organic, inorganic and computational chemistry, specific departmental strengths are listed under research areas below.

Read more on the Chemistry PhD programme 

Wellcome Trust Interdisciplinary Programme in Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology (4-year)

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This unique programme offers opportunities to study at UCL, Birkbeck College and MRC-NIMR. Students are exposed to a wide range of training in protein structure, chemical biology and the computational tools necessary to address important problems in biomedicine.

Read more on the SCCB programme

Studentships

Current PhD vacancies are listed below:

 

 

 

 

A 3-year PhD studentship in electronic and mechanical response at 2D buried interfaces (D/L:20/07/20)

Supervisors: Prof G. Thornton (UCL), Dr  S.J. O Shea (IMRE, A*STAR, Singapore)

Application deadline: 20 July 2020

Start Date: 21 September 2020

Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)

Topics: scanning probe microscopy, electronic devices, 2D materials

The Studentship

This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering in Singapore. The Studentship will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a maintenance stipend about £17000 (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student with one-off relocation allowance. Please note that, due to funding restrictions, only UK/EU citizens are eligible for this studentship.

The Project (no more than 150 words, please)

The physical contact between two surfaces is critical for many applications, such as the integrity of electrical connection, the sliding and adhesion of surfaces, the formation of charge barriers for electronic devices, and surface roughness effects in heat transfer and electrical transport.  The aim of the PhD project is to investigate the contact between free standing 2D layers placed on a substrate at the atomic-to-nanoscale using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) conditions, and relate the measurements to macroscopic effects. We will focus on two types of 2D layers, namely bi-layer SiO2 and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN). The contact area and number of asperities touching at the plate-substrate interface will change as we apply pressure with the AFM/STM tip. These mechanical changes will also modify the current flow. From such data we can model the change in contact from the nanometre scale to the mesoscale.

The Candidate

The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours or equivalent for undergraduate degree in Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided.

Please contact Prof Thornton (g.thornton@ucl.ac.uk) or Dr O Shea (s-oshea@imre.a-star.edu.sg) for further details or to express an interest.

Applications will be accepted until 20 July 2020 but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

A 3-year PhD studentship in deep-learning assisted design of active hyperuniform materials (D/L:20/07/20)

Supervisors: Dr Giorgio Volpe (UCL), Dr Yuan Cheng (IHPC, A*STAR, Singapore)

Application deadline: 20 July 2020

Start Date: 21 September 2020

Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)

Topics: deep learning, soft matter, active matter, photonics, self-assembly, computational sciences

The Studentship

This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent at the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore. The Studentship will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a maintenance stipend about £17000 (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student with one-off relocation allowance. Please note that, due to funding restrictions, only UK/EU citizens are eligible for this studentship.

The Project

Hyperuniform materials are a novel class of disordered materials with properties of both liquids and solids. Because of this dual nature, such materials are increasingly interesting for photonics as they can influence the path of light with the efficiency of a crystal while retaining the flexibility of a liquid. The aim of this collaborative project is to develop an efficient computational framework to design optimal hyperuniform materials whose structure can be rearranged dynamically into different configurations capable of unique interaction with light. In particular, this project will develop a new efficient numerical scheme based on the power of deep-learning approaches with neural networks to realize efficient modeling and design of active hyperuniform materials. If properly designed, this level of tunability is promising to realize novel robust functional materials for photonics and beyond.

The Candidate

The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours or equivalent for undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, Engineering or a related discipline. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, excellent programming skills (in C++, Matlab, Python or equivalent) and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided.

Please contact Dr Giorgio Volpe (g.volpe@ucl.ac.uk) or Dr Yuan Cheng (chengy@ihpc.a-star.edu.sg) for further details or to express an interest.

Applications will be accepted until 20 July 2020 but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

 

A three-year PhD studentship in radiochemistry and preclinical imaging (D/L: 30/06/20)

Supervisor: Dr Kerstin Sander

Application deadline: 30 June 2020

Start date: 14 September 2020

UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start in 14 September 2020.

Project summary:

Neuroinflammation is increasingly recognised as pathological hallmark of the dementias. Occurring many years before clinical symptoms become apparent, the neuroinflammatory processes are hypothesised to play a key role in triggering and driving the disease. As part of the PhD project, you will assess the interplay of neuroinflammatory processes, synaptic plasticity and protein aggregation in the dementias, using nuclear imaging techniques. This will not only enhance our understanding about dementia disease mechanisms, but also assess the suitability of different imaging tools for clinical routine applications (diagnosis, monitoring of disease progression etc.).

In this project, you will apply newly developed chemistry to address unmet medical questions. Taking advantage of a novel platform technique for radiolabelling of small molecules with fluorine-18, you will develop the synthesis of radioactive ligands binding to biological targets that promote neuroinflammation. Using different preclinical imaging techniques, both in human brain tissue and in animal models of dementia, you will assess the binding profiles of the different radioligands. The results are expected to guide future clinical studies as well as to provide novel insights in the mechanisms associated with the development of dementia.

The successful candidate will have the unique opportunity to work across disciplines and to develop skills in medicinal chemistry, radiochemistry, and translational imaging.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent in Organic Chemistry or Natural Sciences with specialisation in Organic Chemistry. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to applicants from the UK and EU, who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years preceding their start on the programme or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Interested candidates should initially contact Dr Kerstin Sander (k.sander@ucl.ac.uk) with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged.  Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk).

Applications will be accepted until 30 June 2020 but the position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been identified.

A PhD studentship in Development and Applications of Diffraction Anomalous Fine Structure Technique (D/L: 01/07/20)

Supervisors: Prof Gopinathan Sankar (UCL) and Dr Giannantonio Cibin (Diamond Light Source)
Application deadline: 1 July 2020
Start Date: 28 September 2020
Location: London  and Harwell Campus
Topics: X-ray Absorption spectroscopy, XANES, EXAFS, Diffraction and Functional Materials 

The Studentship

This position is fully funded by the UCL-Diamond Collaborative Programme. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend initially for a period at UCL and substantial amount of time during PhD at Diamond Light Source. The Studentship will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a maintenance stipend.  Please note that, due to funding restrictions, only UK/EU citizens are eligible for this studentship. 

The Project

Using principles of anomalous X-ray Diffraction and X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, diffraction anomalous fine structure (DAFS) measurements have been developed as one of the SR techniques to measure site selective XAS. This technique has been demonstrated by measuring diffraction data of specific reflections as a function of the incident beam energy across an absorption edge, it is possible to extract XAS data pertaining to a specific crystallographic site. This method has been introduced and functioning in certain SR facilities, and we are aiming to implement and possibly improve the technique at DLS. The diffusion and practical application of DAFS is indeed limited to a few and well identified cases due to technical and analytical challenges. The PhD studentship will therefore focus on implementing novel approaches on both areas.  A selection of advanced functional materials will be studied to gain a better understanding of the site specific structures correlated with functional properties.

The Candidate
The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve at least 2.1 honours or equivalent for undergraduate degree in Physics, Chemistry, Materials Chemistry. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in, general, synchrotron radiation techniques and specifically X-ray diffraction and/or X-ray absorption spectroscopic methods will be desirable, but not essential.
Interested candidates should initially contact Prof Sankar (g.sankar@ucl.ac.uk ) and Dr Giannantonio Cibin (giannantonio.cibin@diamond.ac.uk)  with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged.
Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply and select Research degree:Chemistry programme. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk).
Applications will be accepted until 1 July 2020 but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

Resources:

We offer an excellent education with high standards of teaching in an exciting but friendly environment. We foster a community feel to the department and you will mix throughout your time here with staff, undergraduate students and researchers.

UCL Scholarships: find the currently available Studentships with the Scholarships and funding tool.

Questions & Answers: There's a lot you should ask and a lot for us to tell you in our FAQ section.

Departmental Graduate Tutor
Professor Jim C. Anderson
Tel: 020 7679 5585
Email: j.c.anderson@ucl.ac.uk

For all PGR enquiries contact:
Email: doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk